NASA’s VIPER rover will search for water on the Moon in 2024

NASA is sending a rover to the moon to search for water. It’s called VIPER (Volatiles investigated in wandering pole exploration) It will be launched in November 2024. The full-size model was on SiliCon . Agreement floor. It’s about the size of a golf cart, but the moon rig on top is eight feet tall. Although there are rovers on Mars, they will be the first on the Moon. The water you find will support future crew missions there. It could also produce rocket fuel and other resources needed to continue our exploration of Mars and beyond. Nerdist Talk to some of the team at SiliCon about this awesome mining bot.

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“We started three years ago and are looking to launch in two years. This is really fast for a NASA mission” Terry Fongmanager of the Intelligent Robotics Group and one of the people who will be driving the rover.

VIPER will land at Nobile Crater (pronounced as non-existent), near the Moon’s south pole. Since the water is frozen, the rover will travel in permanently shaded areas. For this reason, it will be the first touring vehicle to include headlights. But it is solar powered. VIPER’s solar panels are located on the side of the rover rather than on top because the sun will be low on the horizon when it’s at all high.

Four NASA employees pose with a VIPER rover at SiliCon
Melissa T Miller

Another NASA mission is heading to the lunar south pole soon. Can Artemis astronauts Meet up with VIPer there? He says, “It certainly could be possible.” Ryan Vaughan Principal Systems Engineer at Rover. “Of the 13 landing areas announced by Artemis, one of them is the VIPER science area.” By the time the astronauts are on the moon, VIPER will likely have lost its power. The team aims to cover a distance of 20 kilometers in a 100-day mission before the rover loses its power.

VIPER will go to the moon thanks to a SpaceX rocket and Astrobot lander. “One of the great things about this is that we are embedding the industry so that helps us advance faster,” he confirms Mercedes Herreras MartinezSenior Risk Management Officer for VIPER.

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The gravity of the Earth is six times that of the Moon. Testing a rover designed to work there requires some modifications when driven on the ground. The video above shows the VIPER 4WD system and how it handles rocky terrain and even quicksand. Communication delay is relatively short, only six to 15 seconds between Earth and the Moon. So VIPER drivers will be able to quickly address any issues that arise.

The short communication delay also means that the rover can double again if you find something really interesting. The Scientific instruments on the rover Process information quickly. One machine called NIRVSS (pronounced “neural,” which stands for near-infrared volatiles spectrometer system). It senses not only water, but other resources that may be located on or just below the moon’s surface.

Diagram showing NASA's VIPER rover traveling on the moon, using headlights attached to a boxy tower
NASA/Daniel Rutter

I asked the VIPER team if they saw themselves or the rover in popular culture. Amanda Cookan astrophysicist working on the mission, says, “I always think about it the moon Because this is all about ice harvesting. It’s interesting to think about. If there was a mining operation on the Moon, it would be like two or three people operating some machinery. It would be a kind of isolation like that.”

“There is another one, for all mankind“This might be the next step after VIPER!” Fong adds, “When you look at the moon or for all mankindYou don’t see relying on robots to do things like prospecting. Which is where we focus now. We still have ways to go about catching up on science fiction. I don’t think we will all catch up because today’s authors are thinking about things in the future just yet. They will always be ahead of the truth of science.”

NASA VIPER rover model with RC WALL-E robot and woman wearing astronaut suit
Melissa T Miller

We’re excited about VIPER and Artemis’ trips to the moon. While we wait, there are always amazing photos from James Webb Space Telescope To inspire us and arouse our interest in space exploration.

Melissa is a science and technology writer at Nerdist. She also runs “science” sessions at conferences and co-hosts star Wars, a podcast about science and Star Wars. follow her Twitter @melissatruth.